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September 03, 2008

Access to contraception

In the waning months of the Bush Administration, new regulations have been proposed that threaten access to family planning services. Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt say abortion and refusal rights are the issue, but this is simply a ruse in their plan to attack contraception. There are already plenty of laws on the books that protect the conscience rights of health care professionals so why the need for more?  Clearly, the new rule is a last attempt by the administration to obstruct family planning and contraception for families that depend on federally funded family planning services. The effects of these regulations are numerous as they expand the power of ideologues to refuse to provide even basic information, counseling and referrals for important health-care services.

The broad and vague terms means that family-planning providers can no longer guarantee their patients access to the full range of comprehensive family-planning services. Ninety percent of Americans support access to contraception, but President Bush and Secretary Leavitt don’t seem to care. In his attempt to protect refusal rights, Bush has begun an unconscionable war against mainstream American family planning contraception. They must be stopped.

Kathlyn Mavis
Kansas City



And for the record, my mechanic doesn't touch transmissions. He doesn't have a sign or anything. It just so happens that if you take your car there and need a transmission, he sends you some place else. I think I should call the cops.



I am somewhat confused. First, why can't I go into a cardiologist's office and ask to be treated for pink eye or a kidney stone. Afterall, he has completed such training and is licensed by the state. The diagnosis and treatment would be known by anyone who had completed their residency.

Further, I would question you as to cabs. Suppose I want to take a cab from LA to Bangor ME. Seeing as a cabbie is licensed and regulated by the state, do you feel he is obligated to drive me there?


Marctnts, please don’t argue. Pub spent nine years studying to be a Professor of Community College, so he knows what he’s talking about.

Pub 17

Let's posit that no one should be required to violate the tenets of their true conscience. Let's also recognize that discrimination against whomever has long been attempted in this country by blowing smoke, right to the present: "We have no intention of discriminating against anyone, heaven forfend, particularly not young black males. We choose, however, not to serve anyone, Danish, Iroquois, Croatian, who dresses in a manner that, what a coincidence, matches perfectly the dress of certain young black males."

Similarly, a pharmacist can claim to be acting according to conscience by not providing a young white woman birth control pills. However, a racist, he is more than happy to provide a young Mexican or black woman with birth control, because he feels the world can do with fewer brown and black babies.

Viola, Kansas! I'll sign off immediately on legislation giving such professionals lief to act according to the dictates of their conscience, provided that BEFORE YOU ENTER THE BUILDING, there's clear permanent posting of the services that the medical professionals within, by name, will not provide. No embarrassment or real inconvenience for the patient, for all can see before entering the tent, DR. PATEL DOES NOT PERFORM ABORTIONS, PRENATAL SERVICES FOR UNDERAGE MOTHERS, PROVIDE BIRTH CONTROL PRESCRIPTIONS FOR UNATTENDED MINOR PATIENTS. DR. SWARTZ DOES NOT PROVIDE PRESCRIPTIONS FOR SLEEPING PILLS TO NURSING MOTHERS, etc.

Satisfied? Now we have an implicit contract. Now the patient never has to suspect they're being discriminated against for illegal reasons.

Now patients who have been rejected can litigate against doctors whose conscience varies depending on the age, skin color, ethnicity of the patient.

Think it'll happen?



We'll just have to agree to disagree. You will never convince me that status as a licensed professional binds you to involuntary action whenever asked, and I'll never convince you that the standard of professional conduct does not bind you to services that must be provided without your choosing, but rather binds you to conduct while performing the services you have chosen to provide (even though my Handbook of Professional Practice backs me up).

BTW - The decision as to whether an attorney may discontinue service AFTER being engaged by a client is made by the presiding magistrate, not through civil action or arbitration. The decision as to whether an attorney may discontinue service BEFORE being engaged by a client is made at the sole discretion of the attorney. Look it up if you don't believe me.

Pub 17

"professinals" are like "professionals," only shorter

Pub 17

Gary: nonsense. Muslims, Seventh Day Adventists and Jews aren't licensed by the state to provide professinal services. Not only are professors not licensed by the state as professinals, real education is supposed to provide a diversity of viewpoints, not The One Truth dictated by the state.

Marctnts: double nonsense. As you well know professional status as defined by licensure binds you to a higher standard of performance than a non-professional. And whether declining to provide services engenders a judicially preducial situation for the client is determinable by litigation and arbitration, not by the professional acting, as it were, pro se. Pull the other one, it's got bells on.


If pharmacists and medical doctors must do things that are contrary to their personal deeply held beliefs just because it's their job, then the principle should be applied across the board. Muslims will not be allowed to stop working to pray several times a day. Seventh Day Adventists and Jews have to work on Saturdays if required. And, not least, leftist professors have to teach history without a Marxist slant.


Q2D2, what you describe is outrageous. Next time someone tries to prevent you from teaching your children about birth control, you must shoo them off your porch, and continue the discussion.


"Incidentally, if you're a lawyer you are ABSOLUTELY bound to represent people you don't agree with. Basic principle of criminal law: everyone is entitled to a vigorous and thorough defense"

Wrong. According the the bar associations of almost every state, an attorney is bound to client representation only when such services have been retained prior to any decision which would typically negate representation AND the replacement of such representation would create a judicially prejudicial hardship upon those represented. Basically, there is NO requirement for an attorney to represent you against their choice UNLESS they made this decision after you retained their services AND replacing you would be substantially detrimental to their representation. Nice try, but this one is a no-go.

As to professional licensure, I am a professional required to be licensed by the state. My licensure, along with that of doctors and attorneys, is stipulated in the "Health, Safety, and Welfare" statutes and is designed to protect the public from those who would practice the profession without the proper knowledge. The standard of professional conduct does not bind you to services that must be provided without your choosing, it binds you to conduct while performing the services you have chosen.


Funny how those thuglicans want fewer government intrusions into THEIR lives, but have no problem with more intrusion into others.

They want their choice, horribly misdirected as it is, of teaching abstinence only to their kids to be respected, yet my right to teach my kids a reality based solution should be taken away from me?

Odd, that.

Pub 17

No, marctnts, you have the choice and obligation to surrender your license and leave for a profession your conscience permits you to engage in. As a professional you have NO right to decide what the nature of that profession is.

Incidentally, if you're a lawyer you are ABSOLUTELY bound to represent people you don't agree with. Basic principle of criminal law: everyone is entitled to a vigorous and thorough defense.

Professional standing isn't like a license to run a pop stand. It legally binds you to standards of professional conduct, and exposes you to litigation if you violate those standards. That's why professionals get paid more than non-professionals. You have every right to specialize your professional standing: a heart surgeon isn't bound to treat cancer patients. But a patient isn't obligated to wander from pillar to post trying to find a state-licensed medical professional whose ethical standards permit them to serve that patient.


Posted by: Pub 17 | Sep 4, 2008 8:45:09 AM

Based on business logic this whole post was written by shamans and faith healers. Having a license is just a form of quality assurance to the consumer that this particular medical professional is qualified to do business. This license does little in the way of dictating to the medical professional what he/she MUST offer to the consumer. The free market does that.

Marctnts is rock solid correct. If a particular licensed medical professional makes a wrong decision on his inventory his business will suffer for it. Making a personal decision on your inventory doesn’t make you “non-scientific”. It has everything to do with operating a business. The free market will determine if such personal choices on inventory will be tolerated. Freedom from religion works both ways.



Your trying to cloud the issue. No one is talking about a doctor or pharmacist prescribing some sort of "potion" based upon something other than science. Heck, no one is even claiming that doctors who refuse to prescribe birth control are doing so because they don't believe the scientific fact that it is effective in preventing pregnancy.

What we are talking about is the right of a doctor or pharmacist to refuse to act in a manner that conflicts with their personal beliefs. Suppose I'm in the legal field, and have refused to take the case of a white supremacy group because their beliefs conflict with my own. Am I doing something wrong because I have allowed my beliefs to influence my actions or lack thereof? After all, everyone is entitled to legal representation, but that doesn't mean they are entitled to it from me.

The ethical responsibility of a physician is to act in the best interest of their patient. If they feel that this is not possible, for whatever reason, then it is their responsibility to recommend their patient to someone who can act in their best interests. How, exactly, does this conflict with legislation that confirms the right of a physician to act according to conscience?

One more question. Suppose the laws are changed and euthanasia is deemed legal. As a doctor, should I be forced to personally end the life of a patient because the government has deemed this an acceptable practice?

Pub 17

Not a chance in hell, marctnts. If you want to be a witch doctor, do as thou wilt. If you want to be a licensed medical professional, you conduct yourself according to the results of scientific method and positive science, or you get the hell out and declare yourself a faith-based alternative medicine healer. You don't get to place the burden of figuring out what your personal belief structure is on someone coming to you in your status as a professional: "Is this guy prescribing medicine to me per the results of double-blind experimental science, or per what Reverend Bob said in his sermon last Sunday?" The free market provides that people can go to doctors and pharmacists, or they can go to shamans, faith healers, and alternative-medicine providers. It no more gives licensed medical professionals the right to conduct themselves on a non-scientific basis than it gives a certified mechanic license to try and cure your Pinto of a sticky choke through prayer. You're dead wrong on this one, hermano.


This is America, where the free market and the almighty dollar are king. Despite Ms. Mavis' claims to the contrary, there will always be a doctor or pharmacist, who has no philosophical or religious objection, who will be more than willing to sell contraception to anyone who seeks it.

The bill, from what I've seen, simply protects healthcare providers from being legally required to act in a matter contrary to their beliefs. Religious freedom works both ways. Free from any tyrannical imposition of religion AND free from any prohibition on it personally.

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